Several months ago, we reviewed LEGO Education’s new product, SPIKE Prime. And just a couple weeks ago, we featured news about the latest addition to the Mindstorms theme, the SPIKE-esque 51515 Robot Inventor. This new generation of programmable robotics brings bright colors and fresh ideas to the table. We’re already seeing some awesome builds coming from the education community, like this bike by the folks at Creator Academy Australia and Project Bucephalus. What’s so awesome about it? It’s self-balancing. This little guy can ride along on its own without tipping over (as long as there isn’t a wall). Click the link below to see it in action!
LEGO has revealed the successor to the Mindstorms EV3 as 51515 Robot Inventor, a 5-in-1 robotics and coding kit. The set is the first addition to the Mindstorms theme in seven years since 31313 EV3 launched in 2013 which was recently labeled as “Retiring Soon” on the LEGO Store online. The new Robot Inventor includes 949 pieces which can be built and rebuilt into five models each with different capabilities and personalities. The set will be available later this year (LEGO has stated early Q4) and will retail for US $359.99 | UK £329.99 | EU €359.99.
Robot Inventor includes a rechargeable Intelligent Hub first seen in SPIKE Prime (enabling Bluetooth connections, gyroscope, accelerometer, and a light matrix) as well as four medium-angular motors, an ultrasonic distance sensor, and a color sensor. LEGO is also launching a Robot Inventor app with visual and text-based coding, the ability to make customized digital remote controls, and support for a variety of third-party controllers like those used with the PS4 and Xbox One.
Some of you may already know I’m a little obsessed with pinball. I just can’t help being enthralled with the awesome engineering that lies within a pinball machine. It’s like an obstacle course for your mind, but tangible. And nothing makes me more giddy than one made from LEGO. This little machine, built by Dawid Marasek, may look simple, but it has a great asset: it’s modular.
LEGO Education sets are now available online for a limited time from the LEGO Store online. Previously, these have only been available online in the US and only through specialized retailers for the rest of the world. The LEGO Store indicates that these are now available for educational purposes which speaks to the current COVID-19 situation around the world where parents and students may want to explore learning at home with LEGO-facilitated tools.
Not all countries can now purchase them, but we’ve spotted LEGO Education products available the US, CAN, UK and other select European country stores. The good news is these sets contribute to VIP points, which has not been the case in the past. We have listed each product available and provided an op-ed about the reasoning behind the pricing.
LEGO Education is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and we are exploring the history of this unique division of the LEGO Group. Part 1 presented an early history of LEGO Education, while Part 2 outlined the development of the first LEGO robotics platforms. In our 3rd and final installment, we dive into the story behind the game-changing release of LEGO Mindstorms.
LEGO and Amazon are launching a new “Mindstorms Voice Challenge: Powered by Alexa” for developers and LEGO robotics fans with some serious prizes up for grabs. The challenge is to envision and create new ways that voice controls can work with LEGO.
More than $100,000 worth of prizes are available, with the grand prize winner receiving $20,000 in Amazon gift cards, tons of LEGO sets, and a trip to LEGO Headquarters in Denmark. You can get a $150 Amazon gift card just by entering.
Pinball machines bring out the kid in all of us, hanging out in an arcade losing quarters and setting high scores. And the Classic Space era of LEGO sets appeals to so many of us who got our first LEGO sets back in the 70’s through 90’s. The Brothers Brick contributor Bre Burns hits it out of the nostalgia ballpark with a fully functional LEGO pinball machine called “Benny’s Spaceship Adventure.” She spent several months perfecting the design with over 15,000 LEGO bricks, including LEGO Mindstorms NXT programmable bricks to make sounds and count your high score.
Bre has kindly shared loads of details about her LEGO masterpiece, which stands over two and a half feet tall, exclusively with The Brothers Brick. Let’s pull back that ball launcher, flick those flippers, and learn more about this amazing LEGO creation!
But first, let’s take a look at the pinball machine in action as Bre shares its working features and tells us a little bit about the design process in our latest TBB video.
Just take my money already! Combining three of my favorite things, Alexis Dos Santos has raised the bar on mind-blowing creations with this Star Wars Racer game, made out of LEGO and powered by MINDSTORMS.
The game itself is a three-dimensional, brick-built version of the pod-racing scene from Star Wars Episode I. The player controls Anakin’s podracer between obstacles coming at it while the MINDSTORMS Intelligent Brick provides the logic and sound effects for the game.
As the caution on the game warns, “HIGHLY ADDICTIVE GAME, THANKFULLY IT’S FREE TODAY!” But where do I
buy get it … ?
It’s quite rare to see a fully functioning roller coaster, especially one this large and complex and using 100% off-the-shelf LEGO elements. It does a look a little fragile at times, with the whole structure wobbling away in the high speed turns, but I’m pretty sure builder Hoezer2 has got it all figured out and it’s gonna hold up. The construction not only has the look and feel of a real roller coaster, but the turns and runs actually have a top speed of 10.3 kmh (6.4 mph) thanks to the use of Mindstorms EV3 motors and sensors.
I still can’t quite grasp how those carriages stay fixed to the tracks, which has always been my number one fear of roller coasters. But in the world of LEGO, minifigures don’t feel pain so it’s all good if they have to endure the occasional derailment.
Earlier this week we brought you the news about the newly unveiled LEGO Boost robotics system, an entry-level System-based building and coding toolkit designed to make it easier for kids to get into programming and robotics. We also think LEGO Boost has the potential to bring the more complex creations of adult LEGO builders to life, so we’ve been curious to learn more. I’m in Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), so I was able to swing by the LEGO booth to talk tech with LEGO Boost engineers and designers.
That’s me on the left, with Lasse Lauesen, the lead computer engineer on the Boost project. LEGO Boost is being designed and developed by the same team behind LEGO Mindstorms, with collaboration from Playthemes designers like lead designer Simon Kent and well-known fan builder turned LEGO designer Carl Merriam.
What struck me first about all the LEGO Boost models on the tables at CES was the color scheme. The primary color scheme of dark azure (the same color as the gorgeous 10252 Volkswagen Beetle) contrasts beautifully with the orange and white, with plenty of bricks also in black and greys. Designer Simon Kent told me that the team chose these colors very consciously as a gender-neutral palette. And I agree — it’s a fairly strong departure from the aggressive black, red, and white of Mindstorms EV3, without swinging the pendulum all the way toward “baby” colors.
This week at the CES technology convention in Las Vegas, LEGO unveiled Boost, an entry-level building and coding toolkit to help bring your creations to life. More simple than Mindstorms, LEGO Boost (17101) is like its little brother but cooler and easier to get to know. The Brothers Brick is at CES and we’ll bring you hands-on coverage soon, but in the meantime, here are the basics.
There are only a few days left until Christmas, so anything that saves you time is a good thing. Thankfully, 14-year-old Sanjay Seshan and his 12-year-old brother Arvind built the Holiday Card Plott3r to help in all your Christmas card needs.
Built and powered by LEGO Mindstorms, the plotter can churn out cards decorated with trees, snowflakes and even Santa’s signature. The creation prints the designs using a dot-matrix and even includes a second contraption that slides out an envelope ready for your beautiful, new card.
Better yet, the project files are all online to be used or improved. That is really in the Christmas spirit! Now we just need a machine that licks and applies stamps and drops the cards off at the post office.